The Failures of Ethics: Confronting the Holocaust, Genocide, and Other Mass Atrocities

Hardcover | August 30, 2015

byJohn K. Roth

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Defined by deliberation about the difference between right and wrong, encouragement not to be indifferent toward that difference, resistance against what is wrong, and action in support of what is right, ethics is civilization's keystone. The Failures of Ethics concentrates on the multipleshortfalls and shortcomings of thought, decision, and action that tempt and incite us human beings to inflict incalculable harm. Absent the overriding of moral sensibilities, if not the collapse or collaboration of ethical traditions, the Holocaust, genocide, and other mass atrocities could not havehappened. Although these catastrophes do not pronounce the death of ethics, they show that ethics is vulnerable, subject to misuse and perversion, and that no simple reaffirmation of ethics, as if nothing disastrous had happened, will do. Moral and religious authority has been fragmented and weakened by the accumulated ruins of history and the depersonalized advances of civilization that have taken us from a bloody twentieth century into an immensely problematic twenty-first. What nevertheless remain essential are spirited commitmentand political will that embody the courage not to let go of the ethical but to persist for it in spite of humankind's self-inflicted destructiveness. Salvaging the fragmented condition of ethics, this book shows how respect and honor for those who save lives and resist atrocity, deepened attentionto the dead and to death itself, and appeals for human rights and renewed spiritual sensitivity confirm that ethics contains and remains an irreplaceable safeguard against its own failures.

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Defined by deliberation about the difference between right and wrong, encouragement not to be indifferent toward that difference, resistance against what is wrong, and action in support of what is right, ethics is civilization's keystone. The Failures of Ethics concentrates on the multipleshortfalls and shortcomings of thought, decisio...

John K. Roth is the Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights (now the Mgrublian Center for Human Rights) at Claremont McKenna College. In addition to service on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, he has published hund...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.89 inPublished:August 30, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198725337

ISBN - 13:9780198725336

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The ThreadPart One: Protesting Failures1. The Failures of Ethics2. Rape as Torture and the Responsibility to Protect3. Philosophy and the 'Logic' of Racism4. 'You Shall Not Murder'5. God's FailuresPart Two: Resisting Failures6. The Holocaust's Impact on Christian-Jewish Relations7. The Effects of Genocide8. What Has Been Learned?9. The Politics of Testimony10. Death and MeaningEpilogue: The Right Side of History?